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The Importance of Integrating Online and Offline PR Strategies

Implementing successful PR strategies can be a minefield. Trying to find the right audience, establishing what content that audience will engage with and even getting that content in front of them can be a challenge. But, as we all want to get the best results, it's worth looking at different types of PR strategies and acknowledging how they could be implemented to achieve the best outcome.

 

More often than not, companies will prefer to focus on either online of offline tactics, choosing one or the other as the best way to generate some noise about their brand. However, these strategies are better partnered together; the campaigns both complementing and supporting one another.

 

Team Trailblazer have some top tips on how and why this should be done.

 

Online or offline?

Offline strategies are potentially the most interesting. They offer opportunities to use new and fresh ideas on physical campaigns, such as captivating stunts, flyers or posters and speaking engagements for television and radio. A fantastic example of the kooky, unexpected campaigns that can be found in this genre of outreach includes the LED displays of characters from Aqua Teen Hunger Force that popped up in various US cities, putting the TV show in front of thousands of new viewers.

Online PR and marketing strategies however, are necessary for engaging with potential consumers in the digital age. Social media platforms and websites provide an oasis of millennials and media savvy customers ready to be engaged and inspired to spend. One example comes from McDonalds, which encouraged fans to engage with the brand through the creation of an online campaign using the hashtag #McDStories.

 

Avoiding a flop

While the campaigns above may have seemed like great ideas on the surface however, both ultimately failed.

 

Why? Because they didn't support their campaigns elsewhere.

 

Aqua Teen Hunger Force got in a lot of trouble with their stunt. The LED displays were a fantastic idea, but none of them provided any context. As a result, consumers didn't know what they were seeing and failed to understand the relevance. Not only this, but in Boston, they were seen as a bomb threat, leading to the police department closing off streets and handing the creators of the campaign a hefty fine.

 

As for McDonalds, the hashtag wasn't used for its intended purpose and users decided to turn it into a joke, the lack of guidance from the fast-food chain providing the opportunity to mock and misuse the campaign. People shared tweets ridiculing the brand, causing McDonalds to end the campaign after just two hours. Once the wrong people had got the wrong message, it wasn't easily stopped, leading to further brand identity damage.

 

Room for Improvement

If either of these campaigns had been backed up with additional PR support, they could have potentially been saved.

Take the LED displays - if the show had paired them with a hashtag or a call to action, people would have understood that this was a brand campaign and that they were being encouraged to do something in response. As for McDonalds, integrating any other platform would have allowed the message to be clearer and the audience to engage or resonate with it in the right way.

 

Learning from Mistakes

So, how can you use past mistakes to guide your own campaigns?

A great way to pair offline and online methods is through the use of software such as QR codes. They're a great tool to utilise as code readers are available in nearly every mobile app store, and by providing a quick and easy way to access a brand's website, users can be made aware of products or even given the opportunity to access online discounts. It's a popular method, with 23 million scans taking place in 2015 alone.

A potentially more viable method is the use of hashtags. By generating a hashtag, you're inviting your audience to take the discussion online and allowing the message to spread further while you monitor its success. Another good integrational method is a call to action, using a web link alongside a catchy phrase to encourage users to do something such as click through to a product page, sign up to a newsletter or make a purchase.

 

If it all seems like too much hard work, Trailblazer PR can help. We'll put you in front of the right audiences and combine different strategies to create the best results. Get in touch via 01453 887777 or email pr.info@trailblazerpr.com for more info.

This entry was posted on 24 May 2018 at 15:52. You can leave a response here.

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